As the fall approaches, HWA all around the state will be waking from their fall aestivation phase and beginning to feed and grow. During the fall into the winter and spring, these tiny invasive bugs will go from looking like miniature jet-black sesame seeds to plump bugs surrounded by their characteristic white wool. As their wool grows, it becomes easier to find HWA infestations on the hemlocks in our forests, making it a great time of year to survey and report any HWA findings that you may see while you’re out leaf peeping and enjoying a crisp fall hike.
While there are many places where HWA infestations have been well-mapped and recorded, there are still many places around the state where hemlocks have gone unsurveyed. This includes in the counties in the eastern Finger Lakes region south of the Tug Hill Plateau including Chenango, Cortland, and Herkimer as well as the strip of western New York including Allegany, Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. These survey gaps are found near areas of known infestations, and any HWA location data that comes from those under-reported sites will help understand how and where HWA is moving throughout New York and help landowners and land managers plan HWA management efforts. These areas are especially critical because they are on the forefront of the infestations as HWA pushes north and west into new territory.
The map on the right shows HWA confirmations in red and hemlock stands with no HWA found in green. Using this map, you can see areas where additional surveys are needed. If you live nearby, plan a hike in one of these areas and keep your eyes out for infested hemlocks!
As HWA becomes more and more ubiquitous in our forests, it is vital that we are vigilant for new and emerging infestations. You can help us with just a few casual HWA surveys and help add to our statewide dataset. To learn more about HWA and how to identify it, you can visit our Hemlock Woolly Adelgid page. The top of that page will have all the resources you need to start making observations and improve our understanding of this invasive pest in New York’s forests. When you’ve got your HWA ID skills down, visit our Report HWA Finding page to share your finding. Remember, every observation is important in helping slow the spread of HWA in New York.
Happy HWA hunting!